A 19-year-old student from Mayo has been crowned this year's overall winner of SciFest.
Aaron Hannon from St Muredach's College, Ballina, Co. Mayo won the competition for his project EnableArm - a shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity. The device was inspired by Aaron's late grandfather who as a result of a stroke was left with restricted hand movement. EnableArm can shave facial hair of people with limited use of their hands and was created through technical research to develop the physical, electrical and software aspects. A mannequin head was used to test the device and an Android app was designed to allow greater ease of use. Aaron will now go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania next year.
This year's competition was the 10th anniversary of SciFest, a science festival for secondary students across the country.
10,000 young people took part in this year's event in local and regional fairs, with 26 projects involving 42 people selected to display their projects at today's national final in Dublin.
Other winners included Jack Nagle who won the SciFest 10th Anniversary Award for his project which automatically engage a tractor handbrake when the driver gets out. Adam Kelly won the ISTA Award for his project on whether beet can beat other cattle feeds.
The 2017 SciFest National Final takes place in the Marino Conference Centre on Friday, 10th November.
This event includes a competition for the winners of the SFI Best Project Award at each of the 16 regional SciFest@College STEM fairs and a number of the regional runners-up. These latter were selected by a judging panel based on their project report books. Each participant will receive a Science Foundation Ireland Excellence in STEM award in recognition of their achievement at the regional fairs. The winner will receive a trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
2017 has been an exciting year for SciFest, celebrating not only its tenth anniversary but also the fact that it has grown to become Ireland’s largest pre-college STEM competition. More than ten thousand students participated in SciFest 2017 bringing the total number of participants in the 10 years to over fifty thousand.
SciFest was set up to encourage a love of STEM through active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning and to give every young person, whatever their background or circumstances, the opportunity to achieve their potential in, and have an enjoyable experience of, STEM. Entry is free and open to all second-level students, thus promoting diversity and making participation highly inclusive and accessible.